Bowdoin College remains one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges in the most recent rankings by U.S. News & World Report, coming in fifth overall. The school was noted for having a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching.

It was ranked fourth overall last year.

The news magazine profiled nearly 1,800 schools nationwide, considering various measures of academic excellence, including acceptance rates, strength of faculty and average student debt. The rankings, for a range of categories, were released Tuesday.

Princeton University was the top national university for the second year; the University of California at Berkeley remained the top public school among national universities; and Williams College in Massachusetts was the top national liberal arts college for the 12th year.

Maine colleges and their rankings include:

Best National Liberal Arts Colleges: Bowdoin College (5), Colby College (15), Bates College (19), College of the Atlantic (99).

 Best National Universities: University of Maine in Orono (173).

 Best Regional Universities: University of New England (79).

 Best Regional Colleges: Maine Maritime Academy (8), UM Farmington (18), Unity College (31), UM Fort Kent (37), Thomas College (44) and UM Presque Isle (46).

 Best engineering programs: Maine Maritime Academy (47)

The magazine also identified “best value” schools, which considers both the school’s academic ranking and the net cost of attending, which is tuition minus the average aid package. Maine schools on the “best value” list for liberal arts colleges were Bowdoin (8), College of the Atlantic (13), Colby (14) and Bates (22).

There also were rankings for colleges with graduates carrying the most and least amount of student debt.

Maine Maritime Academy ranked second in regional colleges for most debt, with 97 percent of graduates carrying debt and an average amount of $41,360. College of the Atlantic ranked 22nd on the least amount of debt, with 61 percent of graduates carrying debt, and an average amount of $19,285.

Several Maine colleges were listed as best regional colleges for veterans, including Maine Maritime Academy (2), UM Fort Kent (12) and UM Presque Isle (16).

To calculate a school’s score, the most weight was given to peer and high school counselors’ assessments of excellence and the school’s graduation and retention rates, both worth 22.5 percent of the score. Faculty resources were worth 20 percent; student selectivity, or consideration of incoming student scores, were 12.5 percent; financial resources, alumni giving and the school’s difference between expected and actual graduation rates each counted for 10 percent or less of the score.


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